Portrush inn on market as Open beckons
Portrush venue the Inn on the Coast has gone on the market as an investment property - and it's expected to fetch as much a £1m as the 2019 Open approaches.
Businesses around the north coast are anticipating an economic boom when the Open, one of golf's four Majors, is hosted by Portrush in three years' time.
The venue on Ballyreagh Road in the Co Antrim town has 30 rooms, as well as a bar and two restaurant areas.
And it's the property itself rather than the hotel business which has gone on the market - with the property under lease to the hotel operator until 2020 or beyond.
However, the site also has planning permission for 16 units to replace the venue outright.
Commercial property agents Lisney said they expected the venue would attract strong interest Royal Portrush Golf Club is to host the Open.
The property started out as a pub, but it was extended in the early 2000s to include 30 large en-suite bedrooms.
Stephen Chambers, an associate director at Lisney, said it would continue operating as a hotel until at least 2020.
And he said the Open taking place in 2019 would add to the property's attractiveness to a potential buyer.
Mr Chambers said: "Planning permission is there for whoever wants to use it. But someone may wish to operate it even longer as a hotel, so there is a variety of options.
"We are expecting interest from hotel operators, developers and operators of bar and restaurants."
Its bar and restaurants enjoy a strong trade from the neighbouring caravan sites.
"It's well-known because it's right on the coast and close to Royal Portrush. It's also close to the caravan sites, so that means its food and beverage offering is successful," said Mr Chambers.
While no guide price has been given by Lisney, Mr Chambers said it anticipated the property would sell for around £1m "because of its location primarily, and because of its development potential".
It's the first hotel to come on the market in Portrush since late last year. The 32-bedroom budget Eglington Hotel was put on the market due to retirement, while The Ramada Hotel was sold to City Hotel Group, in a deal worth in excess of its £2.75m asking price, in January 2015.
The 2019 Open will be held at Royal Portrush from July 18-21 - the first time it's visited Northern Ireland since 1951.
The Executive Office has estimated that the event will attract 200,000 spectators. And with golfers among the biggest spending tourists, venues around the north coast - such as Inn on the Coast - are all expected to benefit.
When it was announced last year that the championship would be held at Royal Portrush, a spokesman for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister said: "With the estimated spend per golfer at £385 per day, or £2,500 per trip, hosting major golf events plays a key role in realising our ambitious plans to grow tourism in Northern Ireland to a £1bn industry by 2020."
And Janice Gault, head of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, said the event gave hotels and tourism operators promotion and advertising that we simply could not afford to buy".